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Let ’em eat dinner

Fear and Loathing in Waynesboro column by Chris Graham

Fear and Loathing is bigger than one person. I’ve been coming to realize this lately, but it hit home last night with a phone call about who was seen eating dinner with whom at a local restaurant.

“Frank, Tim and Bruce are at Ciro’s,” I was told, and I immediately thought of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and how I should be all up in arms because three members of an elected governing body were together and could ostensibly be discussing city business and God-knows-what-else.

Part of me wishes that I’d run down the hill and across the street to pop my head into the Ciro’s to say hi, but the bigger part of me, the more mature part, I could say, doesn’t see the issue that you can be free to debate me, and I expect that some will when I say this.

Let ’em eat dinner together. Even if it would make more sense for them to get together at one of their homes where spies couldn’t call up the media watchdog without staking out their homes 24-7. And even if they are talking city business.

I know, I know. They can come to consensus on issues without public scrutiny. And what, we don’t think this kind of thing goes on anyway? The times in Waynesboro have us in this situation where two rival factions are jockeying for control of city government. I’m well-aware of this. Remember, I got caught in this whirlwind during the election. Personally, I don’t think it’s good at all that we have effectively reduced the representation on our city council from five to two, with one of the two holding all the cards. But we’re here now, the cards have been dealt, and the hand will play itself out for the next four years.

Would we be better off if we didn’t have factions fighting for control of city government to advance what even the diehards on both sides of the political aisle could concede are purely political aims on each of their parts? Yes, of course. Can we ever get back to a political climate in Waynesboro where we have more in the way of diversity in viewpoints represented on the city council? Again, yeah, of course. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, and I’m not just talking about the next elections in two or four years, but it can happen.

And maybe Fear and Loathing can help make it happen. Somebody has to represent the people in this fight, and based on the responses of our volunteers, most recently our friend at Ciro’s, it looks like we’re in this one together.

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